Build a BBQ-Inspired Bowl in 4 Easy Steps

Food in a bowl: It’s easy to make (the whole throw-it-in-a-bowl part) and it’s fun to eat. Of course, you can put any type of food in a bowl, but we’d like to direct you to something seriously cool: BBQ-inspired bowls. Consider it a way to keep your BBQ vibe going all summer long. We’ve got 4 easy steps for building these bowls — because food this good should be that easy.

1. Choose a base.

Greens (fresh or cooked) are a popular start: Slow-cooked collards will give your bowl a Southern accent, steamed kale will make it hearty and sturdy, while arugula or lettuce will make it particularly fresh tasting. Or choose a grain like rice or quinoa to get more of a grain-bowl vibe, or get creative with something like sautéed zucchini or butternut squash noodles.

2. Add a protein.

This is where it gets like a choose your own BBQ adventure. BBQ favorites like pulled pork, roast chicken and brisket are classics, and you can use our Animal Welfare Certified meat and feel good about your choice. Pescatarian? That’s cool. Roast or grilled fish like wild-caught salmon or mahi-mahi are excellent too. You can also just throw in some leftovers if you grilled the night before. If you don’t want to light up your grill, don’t worry: Pick up one of our rotisserie chickens and cut it apart for a more laid-back and less-involved approach to a BBQ bowl. (More on getting that BBQ flavor in later!) Vegetarians and vegans don’t have to miss out. You can opt for BBQed or smoked tofu or tempeh, veggie sausages or whatever else you’re in the mood for (jackfruit, anyone?).

3. Throw in some sides.

Here’s where things really get fun. Bowls are perfect for traditional BBQ sides like coleslaw, beans, braised greens and even mac ’n’ cheese. But a dose of summer produce can’t be beat for texture and color: Diced tomatoes, thinly sliced radishes, chopped sweet onions, charred sweet corn and even fresh or grilled nectarines or peaches will add something sweet. This is also where you can really customize things depending on what you’re craving. You can make your own easy Korean-style BBQ bowl by throwing in cucumbers, carrots, daikon radishes, purple radishes, green onions, serranos and sesame seeds over brown rice.

4. Drizzle with a sauce.

The tang and spice of a good BBQ sauce is pretty much a reliable, gold standard. If you’re going the relaxed dinner route, drizzle it over rotisserie chicken. Want a creamier topping? Mix your favorite BBQ sauce with a little mayonnaise to lighten it. Or go in a different direction with something like ranch dressing, tzatziki or sriracha tamed with mayo and lime.

Better Bowl Tips

  • For the best bowls, start with fresh, high-quality ingredients, like organic seasonal veggies, sustainable seafood and meat from animals raised without antibiotics.
  • Incorporate a mixture of colors and textures.
  • Cut all your ingredients into bite-size pieces before you layer them in, so eating with just a fork is easy.
  • Need something extra? Diced bacon, diced avocado, a soft-cooked egg, microgreens, cracked pink pepper, summer herbs and lemon or lime wedges are great garnishes.
  • Like to plan ahead? Roast or grill a batch of something easy like split chicken breasts or make a big pot of pulled pork on the weekend, and you can assemble quick bowl meals all week.
  • Like to entertain? Lay out all of your ingredients like a buffet so guests can BTOBB (build their own BBQ bowls).

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